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The following list may be used as a guide for food packaging manufacturers and auditors of food packaging

manufacturers for potential food safety risks that may be associated with the various types of packaging materials.
This list is not all inclusive and does not eliminate the need for a thorough food safety risk assessment. Evaluation of
potential food safety risk must be done for the entire process and performed from the perspective of the consumer.
Also, some hazards may not be true food safety but in some cases could be perceived as food safety issues (e.g.,
chemical odor migration). Many of these hazards may be controlled by strong prerequisite programs but some may
require being considered Critical Control Points (CCPs) in a HACCP plan or equivalent food safety focused control
plan.

Potential Food Safety Risks and Possible Controls for Food Packaging Materials

Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

ALL PRINTED PACKAGING MATERIALS


The following issues and controls may be applicable to most printed materials (labels, cartons, rigid plastic containers, lids, film,
pouches, sleeves, )
Printing errorallergen ingredient left off of Controls at customer providing print proof copy to assure proof copy and file to
ingredient line make plates is accurate
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Controls at printing press to assure print from the line matches proof copy
packaged)

Wrong printing plates used Controls to archive or destroy old plates and old print files
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Controls in place at press to verify that print matches proof copy that is scheduled
packaged)
Rework process allowed for materials to be Strict controls for rework procedures (only 1 material reworked at a time or no
mixed rework allowed)
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Controls to identify/label rework correctly
packaged) Work procedures for in-process rework that assure that rework us used during
the same production run if possible (vs. being set aside which allows potential to
rework into the next run by mistake)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

ALL PRINTED PACKAGING MATERIALS


Returned goods mixed with non-like Strict controls for identification and storage of returned goods. Strict rework
materials controls utilized if material is to be reworked.
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is
packaged)

Incorrect label applied to identify finished Controls for pre-printing case labels, core tags (rolls), and pallet labels.
goods (units, cases, rolls, and pallets) Account for all labels printed, destroy or segregate any left-over printed unit
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is labels
packaged) Vision systems to verify that case label matches material within the case and
matches the pallet label

Mixed materials within a case or on a pallet Strict line clearance/changeover procedures throughout the process including all
due to inadequate/incomplete line clearance equipment areas, partial cases, partial pallets, cases on conveyors, quality check
procedures (cases, rolls, etc.) samples, rework, etc.
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is A detailed checklist must be used and a second verification utilized to assure that
packaged) no materials from the previous run are inadvertently left on the line

Mixed materials on a palletmanual or Bar code scanners and sorting devices to separate cases on a common
automatic palletizing conveyor to divert to the correct palletizing area
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Color coded case labels to assist in correct palletizing for manual palletizing
packaged) operations
Full pallet scanners to scan the exterior labels on a pallet to assure all are correct

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

ALL PRINTED PACKAGING MATERIALS


HUMAN ERROR Note that human error is Adequate training of employees, management commitment to food safety, and
one of the main causes of many of the mixed reinforcement are essential to prevent potential for food safety issues
material issues Documented work procedures, employee accountability
Implementation of multiple systems may be required to adequately control the
risk in some processes (vision systems are good if applicable to the process)
Some packaging manufacturers have found that positive reinforcement for
employees identifying potential issues or preventing or reducing issues at the
customers to be successful

Inks not approved for specific use Regulatory (FDA) approval letters for specific use (food contact, incidental
(potential chemical or odor migration into contact, non-food contact)
food)

Inks containing potentially allergenic Inks containing potential allergenic materials must be coated with an appropriate
materials (e.g., soy-based) coating to prevent exposure of the allergen (for product contact surfaces)
(potential for allergen contact to food after
packaging if material is printed on food
contact material)

Coating layer over printing not adequate or Controls in place to assure coating layer over print is adequate and correct
not suitable for use for food packaging coatings (GRAS or FDA approved) are used for specific application
(potential chemical or odor migration into
foodof particular concern if ink is touching
product contact surface of packaging, e.g.,
nested printed rigid plastic cups, rolls of film,
stacks of flat cartons, etc.)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

CUT AND STACK LABELS


Cut and Stack Labels are printed on large sheets and could be printed on sheet-fed or roll-fed printing presses. Printing more than
1 SKU on a sheet is discouraged (or may not be allowed by the customer), however, with some products may not be able to be
avoided. After printing the sheets, the stacks of sheets are typically cut into rows and then rows are die-cut into desired shape of
labels. The stacks of labels may be shrink wrapped and ultimately placed into cases and palletized.
Mixed labels within a stack or a mislabeled Prohibit combo printing (multiple SKUs on each sheet)design layout with only 1
stack due to the top label being incorrect SKU printed on a sheet at a time
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is
packaged) If combo printing must be used:
Design print layout so that print faces with like allergens or duplicate faces are
side by side
Design print layout so that print faces have different die cut shapes that are side
by side (so if they were mixed it would be obvious that it was the wrong label
when applied to the finished food package)
Print tick marks on labels to differentiate between SKUs (utilize different colors,
location on labels, size and appearance of mark (e.g., single vs. double line)
Train operators to watch for and correct issues if sheets move after slitting and
slide onto the adjacent row
Train operators at die cut operation to check dies between SKUs to make sure
that labels are not stuck in die (and could cause next stack to have the wrong
label on top)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

CUT AND STACK LABELS


Mixed stacks of labels within a case Train operators to be diligent when sorting and packing stacks into cases
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Utilize vision systems to sort stacks
packaged) Utilize vision systems to read the top labels of stacks in a case and compare to
case label to assure all stacks within a case are the same and match the case
label (scanners can not be utilized to check all labels within a stack as labels are
not handled individually)
Assure reject or alarm mechanism for mixed cases is working properly and can
not be by-passed by human error (putting a case back on the line that was
rejected without checking it)
Complete material inventory reconciliation (if all materials are accounted for
inventory reconciliation could identify if labels were mixed due to one SKU being
short and another with excess when comparing material printed and final
quantities)

Mixed materials or mixed cases on a pallet Complete and thorough line clearance procedures to assure all material from the
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is previous run is cleared from lineutilize a detailed checksheet and have a
packaged) second person verify that line is cleared of all materials (2nd person visually
check line not just the paperwork)
Removal of all partial cases and partial pallets
Removal of any Quality check samples remaining in the area
Removal of rework from the area (identify and store properly or destroy per
procedures)
Removal of all cases or bundles on conveyors

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

PRESSURE SENSITIVE LABELS


Pressure sensitive labels are typically printed on roll-stock through a printing press and excess material is cut out and pulled off
with labels remaining on roll-stock. Rolls may go through re-winding/finishing process after printing process to verify print quality
and make rolls with label quantities and sizes per customer specifications.
Roll contains mixed labels due to splice Strict controls for splice procedures to prevent inadvertent splicing of unlike
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is materials
packaged) Utilize vision system (e.g., bar code reader) at rewinder to assure all labels are
alike on a roll

Roll contains mixed labels due to tail from Strict controls at printing press to assure tail of prior run printed material is not
previous run attached to new roll (typical allowed to be attached to new roll for next run--
process is to leave tail of material inside Run tail from previous run out onto floor and cut off when new material comes
press rollers to prevent need to re-thread through, then attach new material to roll and proceed
rollers at changeover) Alternatively material left inside press rollers without printing on it--
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Raise printing rollers at press but still leave material inside threaded through
packaged) rollers at the end of a runthis will result in blank material that could be run
directly onto the new roll and cut off at rewinding (easier to identify blank
material vs. printed material)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

PRINTED PAPERBOARD CARTONS (Cut and Stack Flat, and Glued)


Note: Paperboard cartons are typically considered secondary packaging but could be considered primary due to foreseeable use
(e.g., cereal or crackers falling out of the inside liner and into carton itself). Also, some cartons are primary packaging and used
without a liner (e.g., pasta, some cereals, rice, ). Blank paperboard is typically is made at a separate facility than the carton
manufacturing facility (or may be purchased externally). Paperboard is printed by sheet-fed or roll-fed printing presses depending
on the operation. Printed paperboard is then die cut to the desired carton shape per the customer specs. Flat cartons are shipped
in stacks and are folded and glued by the customer. Glued cartons require a separate operation after die-cutting and are fed
through equipment where the cartons are folded and the side seams glued prior to stacking/casing/palletizing and shipment to the
customer.
Mixed cartons within a stack or a mislabeled Prohibit combo printing (multiple SKUs on each sheet)design layout with only 1
stack due to the top carton being incorrect SKU printed on a sheet at a time
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is
packaged) If combo printing must be used:
Design print layout so that print faces with like allergens or duplicate faces are
side by side
Design print layout so that print faces have different die cut shapes that are side
by side (so if they were mixed it would be obvious that it was the wrong label
when applied to the finished food package)
Print collation or tick marks on cartons (typically on flaps) to differentiate between
SKUs (utilize different colors, location on flaps, size and appearance of mark
(e.g., single vs. double line)
Train operators at die cut operation to check dies between SKUs to make sure
that labels are not stuck in die (and could cause next stack to have the wrong
label on top)

Mixed cartons due to handling errors at Strict employee training and procedures to prevent mixing of cartons within a
casing or palletizing operation case or on a pallet
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Utilize vision systems (e.g., bar code reader or collation mark reader) after carton
packaged) gluing operation to assure cartons are not mixed (can only be used for glued
cartons, flat cartons are not handled individually)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

PRINTED PAPERBOARD CARTONS (Cut and Stack Flat, and Glued)


Ink used for interior carton printing Ink used for interior carton printing (e.g., coupons or special offers) must be
(potential chemical or odor migration into approved for food contact or incidental food contact
food)

Paperboard qualitypotential for micro, Recycle material utilized by specific type into appropriate board products
chemical, or extraneous contaminants Biocide added to pulp slurry to prevent micro growth during process
Chemicals used in process are GRAS or approved for specific use
Foreign material removal systems to eliminate foreign material in recycle pulp
Metal detectors on finished board lines to detect metal

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

PRINTED FILM
Film may be made with various processes and the finished printed film may be multiple layers of films extruded or laminated
together to form a film with the desired properties for the customer. During this process the film may be handled multiple times
including re-winding, printing, and various finishing processes to meet customer requirements and roll sizes.
Roll contains mixed SKUs due to splicing Strict controls for splice procedures to prevent inadvertent splicing of unlike
unlike materials together at rewinding or materials
finishing operation Utilize vision system (e.g., bar code reader) at rewinder to assure all SKUs are
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is alike on a roll
packaged)

Roll contains mixed SKUs due to tail from Strict controls at printing press to assure tail of prior run printed material is not
previous run attached to new roll (typical allowed to be attached to new roll for next run--
process is to leave tail of material inside Run tail from previous run out onto floor and cut off when new material comes
press rollers to prevent need to re-thread through, then attach new material to roll and proceed
rollers at changeover) Alternatively material left inside press rollers without printing on it--
(potential for unlabeled allergen after food is Raise printing rollers at press but still leave material inside threaded through
packaged) rollers at the end of a runthis will result in blank material that could be run
directly onto the new roll and cut off at rewinding (easier to identify blank
material vs. printed material)

Functional barrier or odor migration issues Controls in place to assure only correct resins are used.
due to incorrect resin used Resins for film for food products must be approved by regulatory (FDA) for
(barrier issues could lead to spoilage or specific food use
micro issues, incorrect resin could cause Controls in place to prevent non-food approved resins from mixing with resins to
odor or chemical issues) be used for food packaging film

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

PRINTED FILM
Film quality issues make functional barrier Process parameters monitored at a frequency to assure material is produced per
inadequatepackage leakage specification
(barrier issues could lead to spoilage or Quality check procedures verify film is within specifications
micro issues dependant on type of food Material that is out-of-spec is identified and segregated for disposition or rework
product)

Potential for extraneous material, chemical, Controls in place during manufacturing and finishing processes to prevent
or microbiological contamination from raw contamination from equipment or the environment (e.g., film not allowed to touch
materials, equipment, or environment floor between rollers or other processes, building and equipment maintained so
as not to be a source of contamination (e.g., no roof leaks), lubricants with
potential for product contact food grade, lights in process area shielded, etc.)
Rare earth magnets may be needed for bulk ingredients (unloading or later in
process prior to melting resin pellets)
Metal detection is not typically used for film, but may be used in some
applications

Compressed air used on product contact Air used on product contact surfaces must be of acceptable micro quality
surfaces (filtered) for the type of material being made (e.g., air used for film for dairy
(could post potential for micro or chemical products needs filtration to prevent micro contamination)
contamination) Compressors for food contact air must be oil-free or use food approved oil and
filtered to remove oil prior to use

Cooling Water used in contact with film Cooling water may be used for film in some specific applicationsif recirculated
(potential for micro or chemical it must be treated to prevent microbiological growth and tested at a designated
contamination) frequency to verify potability. Alternatively single pass potable water could be
used

Processing aids approved for specific use Process aid materials must be approved for incidental food contact if appropriate
(potential chemical contamination if not
approved for specific use)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

Rigid Plastic Containers and Lids


Rigid plastic containers and lids are typically produced from injection molding (hot melted resin injected under pressure into a mold,
then excess cut away) or from thermoforming (a sheet of plastic material is heated and pressed into the desired shape, cut out,
etc..). Printing (decorating) typically occurs in a separate process following the molding/forming processes.
Potential for extraneous pieces of plastic Vacuums, air blows, or other removal/cleaning devices in place and functional in
inside containers thermoform and molding processes to remove excess material after forming and
(potential for physical hazard) cutting (as applicable for specific process)

Potential for metal contamination from Typically screens are in the process to prevent extraneous from entering the
materials, equipment, or process equipment. Screens must be on a routine inspection schedule to prevent the
(potential for physical hazard) screen from becoming a source of the contamination itself
Metal detection or x-ray may be needed based on the type of material, the
process, and history of issues
Incoming bulk materials may need rare earth magnets at the unloading area or in
the process prior to melting the resin pellets

Compressed air used on product contact Air used on product contact surfaces must be of acceptable micro quality
surfaces (filtered) for the type of container being made (e.g., cups for cold fill dairy
(potential for micro or chemical products need filtration to prevent micro contamination)
contamination) Compressors for food contact air must be oil-free or use food approved oil and
filtered prior to use

Processing aids approved for specific use Mold release agents must be approved for incidental food contact if appropriate
(potential chemical contamination if not (e.g., cups will be nested after forming and outside of cup will touch inside of the
approved for specific use) next cup

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

Rigid Plastic Containers and Lids


Plastic quality issues make functional barrier Process parameters monitored at a frequency to assure material is produced per
inadequatepackage leakage specification
(barrier issues could lead to spoilage or Quality check procedures verify containers and/or lids are within specifications
micro issues dependant on type of food Material that is out-of-spec is identified and segregated for disposition or rework
product)

Functional barrier or odor migration issues Controls in place to assure only correct resins are used.
due to incorrect resin used Resins for containers for food products must be approved by regulatory for
(barrier issues could lead to spoilage or specific food use.
micro issues, incorrect resin could cause Controls in place to prevent non-food approved resins from mixing with resins to
odor or chemical issues) be used for food packaging containers

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

Glass Jars and Containers


Glass container production involves a continuous process where molten glass is formed, typically in 2 stages, then cooled,
inspected electronically, cased or bulk palletized, then shipped to the consumer. Defects that are culled out either by defective
mold number or by inspection devices are reworked back into the process, as with recycle glass received as a raw component of
the glass manufacturing process.
Potential for extraneous pieces of glass in Glass breakage prevention and controls:
jars or containers due to breakage in Line layout to minimize potential for contamination when breakage occurslines
manufacturing process covered past cleaning devices (if present)
(potential risk of injury to consumer) Surface coatings adequately applied to minimize friction in container to container
contact
Electronic vision systems in place to detect: glass defects, extraneous glass in
jars, seal defects, other
Vision systems must be set up with actual glass defects from jars/bottles being
run
Reject devices must be set-up to accurately reject the identified defective
container
Mold reader reject devices must be set up accurately to reject the specific mold
number identified as defective
Process parameters monitored to assure containers are made per specification
Quality check programs in place and followed by operators

Glass defects made during manufacturing Above controls applicable to this as well
process
(potential risk of extraneous glass or injury,
leakage due to seal surface not sealable,
potential for breakage at food manufacturer
or consumer level)

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Potential Issue (Food Safety Implications) Possible Controls (This list is not all inclusive, alternative controls are possible)

Glass Jars and Containers


Damage to glass during post-manufacture Procedures must be in place to prevent damage at the palletizing and casing
handling procedures processes.
Bulk palletizing procedures (e.g., forklift Periodic inspections of post-manufacture cases or bulk palletized glass to assure
squeezes jars and cause potential that damage has not occurred.
damage) Employees must be aware of potential hazards and prevention measures for
Casing procedures (e.g., internal case glass containers post-manufacture
dividers not inserted properly allowing jar
finishes to touch during shipping allowing
cracking and breaking of jars)
(potential risk of extraneous glass or injury at
food manufacturer or consumer level)

Glass containers used for hot-fill products Glass containers to be used for hot-fill products must be tested for thermo-shock
susceptible to breakage during manufacturing process to assure containers will withstand the process at
(potential risk of extraneous glass or injury at the food manufacturer and consumer level
food manufacturer or consumer level)

Coatings applied to glass prior to cooling and Hot end coatings are typically not an issue because they will be burned off in the
post-cooling are appropriate and approved Lehrbut need to be sure that the coating used is applicable (GRAS for this use)
for specific use
(potential for chemical contamination if Cold end coatings must be approved for use for food contact containers (GRAS
coating not approved for food contact or if or other approval)
hot end does not eliminate the coating)

Compressed air used on product contact Air used on product contact surfaces must be of acceptable micro quality
surfaces (filtered) for the type of container being made (e.g., jars for cold fill products need
(potential for micro or chemical filtration to prevent micro contamination)
contamination) Compressors for food contact air must be oil-free or use food approved oil and
filtered prior to use

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